Hail­ing from South Lon­don 21 year old rap­per Riodan has recently dropped a mix­tape entitled ‘The Lost Struggle’. Using the story telling tech­nique, Riodan paints the pic­ture of some of the harsh real­it­ies in soci­ety, cov­er­ing dif­fer­ent aspects from drugs, the sys­tem, the police, love, hate, crime, poverty and more. We catch up with him to learn more about the inspir­a­tion behind the release and how through his music he seeks to shed light on struggles with­in the community.

Tell us a bit about your jour­ney in Hip-Hop so far?

I’ve always been around music but back in the day I was shy when it came to rap­ping and I wasn’t that good I won’t lie, even though I thought I was. So, I built a stu­dio and taught myself how to mix, mas­ter and record and star­ted a little busi­ness. I worked with loads of up and com­ing rap­pers from South Lon­don in a stu­dio in my garden shed and that helped me work on my craft. My fam­ily and friends pushed me to start releas­ing tunes, it made me want to put in more work, so star­ted releas­ing more videos and music. I have been doing this for a time now, just got to keep put­ting the time in and see where it takes me.

Was there a par­tic­u­lar event or per­son that inspired you to turn to rap?

I can’t say there’s one per­son or a defin­ing moment that made me turn to rap but I do remem­ber every­one was a rap­per when I was grow­ing up. My big sis­ters’ friends, my friends and my cous­ins, I think every­one in my area at one point had at least a couple bars just in case, in case of what I don’t know, but every­one was a rap­per. So being around that energy grow­ing up made me want to start rapping.

Hail­ing from South Lon­don, how did your envir­on­ment influ­ence the music you made?

Con­sciously or uncon­sciously it has influ­enced me enorm­ously, that’s all I’ve known, so it cer­tainly shaped me as a man and as a musi­cian. You get to see the good the bad and the beau­ti­ful when you live the ‘struggle’ and South Lon­don showed me everything life has to throw at you. So as a musi­cian I’ve used this to be able to speak the truths about life, not only for people from South Lon­don but for those who can relate.

You have just dropped a 10-track mix­tape ‘Lost In the Struggle’, tell us a bit about how this came together?

Just before mak­ing this mix­tape I felt like I needed a break from music, the hard­est part for me when chas­ing the dream has been put­ting out music and no one hear­ing my work. So I felt like before I take that break let me make a tape that expresses how I feel and what I see and go through day in day out. I wanted to report live from the struggle, like a report­er you would see on the news but in a way that was real for my people, unfiltered and raw with the pur­pose of telling our side of the story. Cre­at­ing a soundtrack for all aspects of the struggle the beauty and the hard­ship. We are all going through our own per­son­al struggles so my hope with the mix­tape was to be able to make every song relat­able to people, cre­at­ing qual­ity sound­ing songs that were son­ic­ally and con­tex­tu­ally hard. I’m not say­ing this mix­tape is going to change the world but I hope I done some­thing to let people know I can rap, make qual­ity music and spread a message.

How import­ant is it for you to use Hip-Hop to send a message?

Words are one of the most power­ful weapons in this world and my way of send­ing a mes­sage is through music. What else can make people listen, dance, emo­tion­al and pro­voke thought all at the same time. Hip Hop espe­cially allows me to be as authen­t­ic and unfiltered as I wish, mean­ing the mes­sage I want to spread is real. I feel like as long as your real and true to your­self when spread­ing a mes­sage people will feel it.

The storytelling tech­nique on the mix­tape is extremely power­ful, are there any par­tic­u­lar tracks off the mix­tape which are close to your heart?

It sounds cliché but all the songs tell a story. I tried to tell a story on every track so every­one could at least relate to one. If I had to pick, I would say the ‘Lost in the struggle’, ‘Nev­er Starve’ and the outro track ‘Is what it is’. These songs show­case me straight rap­ping from start to end, straight real rap, pure hard bars, so I was able to really express how I was feel­ing and tell a story more effectively.

The pro­duc­tion on the Mix­tape is extremely cur­rent and high qual­ity, which pro­du­cers did you work with on it and how would you define your sound?

I didn’t work spe­cific­ally with any one pro­du­cer but I did search, con­tact and listen to hun­dreds of pro­du­cers and beats to find what I was look­ing for. The beat some­times is more import­ant than the lyr­ics as it reels the listen­er in and I just com­pli­ment it with the bars. So, every beat on there is of a par­tic­u­lar import­ance. As for my sound I don’t really know how to define it I don’t mean to make anoth­er cliché state­ment, I don’t mean I sound com­pletely new and dif­fer­ent, I just mean that I can make a song of any style. There­fore, on the tape I tried to show ver­sat­il­ity. I just make real music for real people.

The mix­tape is timely, you speak about a lot of issues that have come to light with the cur­rent events. We live in a broken sys­tem, with police bru­tal­ity, insti­tu­tion­al racism and class wars. What do you feel are the kind of solu­tions we need that can fix it?

There is no simple solu­tion to such a com­plex prob­lem, so I would be lying if I said I know the exact way to fix it. With that being said we can’t ignore the ongo­ing prob­lems that are being faced day in day out. These issues aren’t new but the sys­tem and insti­tu­tions that con­tin­ue to oppress have found ways of to try and dis­guise and down play the issues. There­fore, I believe we must con­tin­ue to speak about these issues, con­tinu­ing the uncom­fort­able con­ver­sa­tions and speak our truth regard­less of the con­sequences. That’s what I’ve tried to do with my mix­tape and con­tin­ue to do any chance I get to speak the truth and fight for change.

 What is Riodan doing when he is not mak­ing music?

If I’m not mak­ing music, I’m watch­ing sports or coach­ing it, I man­age a loc­al Sunday league foot­ball team try­ing to bene­fit the loc­al com­munity and If I’m not doing that, I’m with the fam­ily social­ising, always got to put the fam­ily first for real I believe that’s important.

2020 has been a mad year, but big up for cre­at­ing magic amongst the mad­ness. What more can we expect from you in the near future?

Thank You, 2020 has been a mad year so far but regard­less I’m going to con­tin­ue to make music. I have music videos lined up for songs of the tape, as I push ‘Lost In the Struggle’ to get more expos­ure. On top of that I’ve got hun­dreds of bangers in the volt that I want the streets to hear.

Where can we fol­low you and keep up with your latest music?

You can fol­low me at Riodan100 on all socials and Riodan on You­Tube to keep up with my music.

The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent below.

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.